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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast



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It was 58 degrees Fahrenheit in my home when I awoke around 3AM today.

It always seems colder than it is when I get up for work. Anyone who's worked 3rd shift, or even if you've just gotten up to catch an early flight, you know the body is designed to work a certain way, and it's not designed to work at all hours before daybreak. So I'm always cold when I get up... but not this cold.

Checking the digital readout on the thermostat... 58 degrees. I'm not really responsible for setting the thermostat, so I guess I didn't know for sure, but that seemed a tad low to me.

So what's a man to do? A man goes downstairs and has a look at the furnace. Here's the problem with that. When it comes to general household maintenance and other handy sort of things, I'm no man. There I said it. I know what I am. I don't know how to fix anything. I barely know a hammer from a screwdriver. Ask my late father-in-law who was a mechanic. I used to drive the guy nuts.

So I'm going downstairs anyway, expecting to find... I don't know what. I think mostly I was just hoping there was a sticker on the furnace with a phone number to call. Seinfeld has a great bit about this sort of thing, but with cars. It's something like... you know... the car dies and you head around the front to check under the hood. You've got no idea what you're looking for under there. He quips you half expect to see, "...a giant on/off switch... accidentally in the off position."

Love that bit, and it's true. What was I going to do? I can't fix a furnace. I surely can't fix a furnace right now... at 3AM... with no guidance or help, or even knowledge of what's wrong. My mind begins racing... What the heck am I going to do? I'm going to have to call one of these emergency numbers... right? I can't let my wife and kids awaken to 50 degree temperatures. Should I make a fire? Do I have enough fire wood? What are we going to do... all huddle around there like Little House on the Prairie. Dang this is going to cost a ton. How much? Hundreds? Is it new furnace time? How old is this furnace? Looks pretty new. Inspector never said anything about it. He would have said if there was something wrong... right? That reminds me, we really should update the electrical this summer... never mind... one problem at a time. How am I going to... wait... what the... could that... no.... it can't be that simple.

Here... on the side of the furnace... is the, yes, on/off switch for the electric current. It's in the off position.


I had gone in the basement to put something in storage, and she insisted on coming along. There was about  a 12-13 second period where Ella was not in my line of sight... and she must have turned the thing off. Dang.

This never happens to me! Nothing is ever this simple. It's almost always a disaster, but instead it was just that simple. There really was an on/off switch... and it was in the wrong position. Take that Mr. Seinfeld.






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Milwaukee, WI

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